The trio recently completed its second release, Dear Birds, a soundtrack without a movie. The disc is composed of short pieces that don't need structure to convey an entire mood or scenario. With repeating keyboard loops and a loping beat, "Cool Sanson" is the audio equivalent of a cloudy night sky. If Air's Talkie Walkie is starting to bore you, put this disc on your shopping list.
Minadeo also brings us Racermason's new, hotly anticipated, self-titled LP, which he produced and played bass on. Beats are slightly less central on Racermason than on Birds, but only because singer Mandy Lashua (née Lascko) has developed from a tentative crooner into a velvet-voiced siren. On the band's second disc, McNulty and Minadeo have stepped in as Racer's rhythm section, reducing the group's electronica in favor of subtle, jazzy elements, while guitarist Derek Lashua traces lines around the singer's bittersweet lyrics.
Racermason's first release, 2002's With Everything, established the band as Akron's possible answer to Portishead. Now, the group has moved beyond trip-hop and created an original ambient-pop sound that begs for further development.